Kansas Athletics Inc., the operating arm of the Kansas University athletic department, on Friday approved a proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year that is $5.4 million dollars — or 7 percent — higher than the one it worked with during 2013.
But while the KAI budget is expanding, so, too, is the revenue the department expects to earn.
At the board’s final regular meeting of the 2012-13 school year, Pat Kaufman, KAI’s chief financial officer, said both the budget and the revenue intake would expand by the same amount, meaning that he expected another balanced year from Kansas Athletics when school resumes in the fall.
Kaufman said the bulk of the increase in the budget comes from increased spending on travel and team expenses. The rest would show up in department salaries, with the continued rising cost of health benefits accounting for most of the change.
As for the higher revenue number, Kaufman said most of the extra money coming in would be the result of the new television contracts negotiated by the Big 12 Conference. The rest would come from an increase in men’s basketball season ticket costs, which the school announced in early May. The ticket increase is the first in five years and it primarily impacts those with the best seats. Tier-1 season-ticket holders, which include the courtside seats as well as most of the lower level, saw an increase of 23.4 percent (from $1,225 per seat to $1,600); Tier 2 season-ticket holders, which make up most of the upper level, saw an increase of about 6 percent (from $1,155 per seat to $1,225); and Tier 3 season-ticket holders, primarily the upper corners of Allen Fieldhouse, experienced an increase of around 8 percent (from $855 per seat to $925).
Although it was important for the board to understand where the money was coming from, athletic director Sheahon Zenger said the more important thing was where it would go.
“As we continue to grow, the majority of that 7 percent is being driven back into team expenses and the student-athletes,” Zenger said. “And that’s concurrent with our philosophy of being coach- and student-athlete-centric.”
As for the 2013 fiscal year, Kaufman said that through 83 percent of the year, KAI had spent exactly 83 percent of its budget. He also said that 92 percent of the expected revenue for 2013 already had been collected, with most of the remaining 8 percent expected to come from the IMG broadcast contract and KU’s cut from the Big 12.
In other news Friday: KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Zenger both gave feedback from last week’s Big 12 spring meetings, which took place in Dallas after being held in Kansas City, Mo., for the past several years.
Gray-Little said several important financial and contractual issues were discussed and hinted at a serious evaluation of the current state of the NCAA having taken place. Of such discussions, Zenger said: “The upside of that is that conference realignment is in our rear-view mirror and it was nice to move on to other topics.”